The invitations are out, and the schedule is set for an exciting bowl season. This year, five teams have qualified for postseason bowl games. The BIG EAST has recently been very strong in not only getting teams into bowl games, but winning them. In fact, every BIG EAST team has qualified for a bowl game either 2010 or 2011. BIG EAST teams finished 4-2 last year and carry a 20-8 bowl record the last five seasons.
BIGEAST.org and BIGEASTBowlCentral.com are the places to find all the information on the upcoming games and to share your bowl game experiences.
Registered users will have the opportunities to earn points for everything they do on BIGEASTBowlCentral.com and be eligible for great prizes like gift cards, merchandise and even game tickets.
West Virginia won a three-way tiebreaker with co-champions Cincinnati and Louisville and will be the conference’s representative in the Discover Orange Bowl on January 4. Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers will face ACC Champion Clemson on January 4 on ESPN. It is the Mountaineers’ first trip to the Discover Orange Bowl and 31st postseason appearance overall.
Clemson started the season strong, winning its first eight games and climbing as high as No. 6 in the national rankings. USF defeated Clemson in last year’s Meineke Car Care Bowl (now the Belk Bowl) 31-26.
Charlie Strong will take Louisville back to a bowl game for the second time in as many years. The Cardinals will head to Charlotte to face North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl on December 27. Louisville won a share of the BIG EAST title in a year it was picked to finish seventh in the BIG EAST preseason coaches’ poll. The Cards have been hot – finishing with six wins in their last seven games.
BIG EAST fans have seen plenty of the Wolfpack. In addition to playing West Virginia in last year’s Champs Sports Bowl, NC State has played a home and home with Cincinnati spanning the past two seasons. The Cardinals have faced the Wolfpack three times and won all three games.
Rutgers will be staying close to home but will get to experience one of the more unique bowl destinations. The Scarlet Knights will play Iowa State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30. It will be the sixth bowl game in seven seasons for Greg Schiano’s team.
The Cyclones have won three of their last five games including a thrilling double-overtime win over No. 2 Oklahoma State. The Cyclones played Connecticut early in the season, beating the Huskies 24-20 in the third week of the season.
Cincinnati, which missed a bowl game last season, returns to postseason play after winning a share of the BIG EAST Championship for the third time in four years. The Bearcats will face Vanderbilt in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 31.
The Commodores will be making the school’s fifth bowl appearance. Earlier in the season, Vanderbilt defeated Connecticut in Nashville, 24-20.
Pittsburgh gained bowl eligibility on the last day of the season and will return to the BBVA Compass Bowl to play SMU on January 7. The BIG EAST has never lost the BBVA Compass Bowl (5-0). The Panthers and Mustangs last met in the 1983 Cotton Bowl in a matchup that featured future Hall of Famers Dan Marino (Pittsburgh) and Eric Dickerson (SMU).